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Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce available? Should Brooklyn Nets pursue?


It wasn't long after Doc Rivers agreed to leave the Celtics for the Clippers that speculation about Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce began, first in the form of tweets from beats.

How realistic is either? Both is an unrealistic proposition. The two will make $24.4 million next season.

The Nets have, in the past, been interested in both, in KG much longer, Pierce more recently. Whether they are still interested --and at what price-- remains the question. Although they both put up decent numbers last season --KG at 14.8 and 7.8 in 30 minutes over 68 games; Pierce at 18.6, 6.3 and 4.8 in 33 minutes over 77 games-- the two are among the NBA's oldest players. Garnett just turned 38, Pierce will turn 37 in October. Still, they are great players with passion and a shared championship.

The easier deal is Pierce, but decisions would have to be made this week. Pierce's contract --$15,333,334-- has a $5 million buyout that must be exercised by next Sunday or it stays on the books. If Boston is indeed in full rebuilding mode, Pierce's contract becomes a burden. Making things difficult is that the Celtics are unlikely to have a coach on-board before then.

The Nets could offer the Celtics Kris Humphries and other pieces, a pick, MarShon Brooks, whatever, but is that more attractive than a reported Cleveland offer of two second round picks, at #31 and #33, and a $15 million trade exception good for year? Or is it wiser for them to buy him out and save $10 million immediately. It seems he prefers joining Rivers in L.A., his hometown.

At the March trade deadline in 2012, the Celtics offered Pierce to the Nets in a deal for Mehmet Okur and the Nets pick in last year's draft, the same basic deal that got them Gerald Wallace ... and a lot of grief. Celtic types claim the Nets turned it down, and indeed there were concerns that Pierce would not be a happy camper in Newark or Brooklyn. But a well-placed league source familiar with the discussion said the deal wasn't on the table for long, that Danny Ainge quickly pulled it back before the Nets had time to fully review it.

Then, at the 2013 deadline, it was reported that the Celtics had asked for Humphries, Brooks, Mirza Teletovic and two future first rounders

Trading for Garnett is more complicated ... and the Nets have tried it going back a decade. He has two more years on his deal at $12,443,735 next year and a $12,000,000 player option in 2013-15, when he will be 39. He also has a no-trade clause, meaning he can determine where he plays. He was supposed to go to the Clippers along with Rivers, but David Stern nixed that trade so he may be more willing to leave Danny Ainge behind. Again, any deal would have to be based on the Humphries expiring, which in this case saves Boston a lot of money.

There's no doubt Ainge will get calls from around the league starting this morning, if they didn't start overnight. The Nets say they are happy with their core but both have to be intriguing. Are they interested? We asked. No surprise, they ain't going there.